by Dr. Tony Alessandra
The number one fear of most adults (even above death)
is speaking in public.
ability to communicate to groups of people is a skill
which can make a critical difference in our careers
and in our ability to share information, ideas, experience,
and enthusiasms with others.
conducted by AT&T and Stanford University revealed
that the top predictor of success and upward mobility,
professionally, is how much you enjoy public speaking
and how effective you are at it.
us have experienced more than our share of boring
what seems like hours, we still don't know what message
we were supposed to get.
the speaker put us to sleep with his monotone presentation
or we couldn't
read the small writing on the transparencies, which
didn't seem to match up at all
with what the speaker was trying to say.
being the source of a "sleeper" presentation,
you need to build your presentation skills. Here are
some simple guidelines to overcoming stage fright
preparing for a successful presentation.
the Attitude of a Successful Public Speaker
that stage fright is normal and be open about it.
Sometimes just admitting that you are feeling anxiety
helps relieve it. You should also remember that you
are the expert.
who asked you to speak believes that you have something
of value to share. The people attending the meeting
believe that they will receive information of value.
your primary duty is to understand what your audience
needs to know
and prepare the message and supporting materials in
a way that delivers your message clearly and powerfully.
a strong, whole-hearted commitment to your audience.
Concentrating on them and their needs will help you
forget about your own self-consciousness.
additional tips for overcoming stage fright:
your presentatioractice your presentatiun. Do a
pilot test, and if possible, videotape yourself.
rapport by using names and eye contact.
your audience. Get acquainted with at least one
person in the
Breathe deeply. Visualize yourself successfully
your message to the audience.
your own style. Don't imitate someone else.
for Success -- Planning
A good presentation requires careful planning and
lack of planning is always apparent. Sure clues are
speeches that are too long, too detailed, confusing,
vague, boring or off-track.
The most critical step in preparation is understanding
the "what" and the "why" of
your presentation: its purpose. Your purpose should
be the broad general outcome
you want the presentation to achieve. Here are three
questions you can ask yourself
to clarify the objective of your presentation:
am I giving this presentation?
do I want the audience to know or do at the end
do I want the audience to feel?
on the Big Idea
know your audience and are clear about your objectives
and purpose, you
are ready to start organizing your presentation. The
first step is to find your focus. This is the Big
Idea of your material, the power punch, the one thing
you want your audience to walk away with. One way
to make sure you are clear on your focus is to develop
a basic outline of your presentation.
by listing no more than five independent ideas that
the audience must understand for the objectives to
be accomplished. Then outline your plan for presenting
the necessary detail and persuasive material needed
to allow your audience to understand those points.
This gives you a rough outline of the content of your
three major sections of a presentation: introduction,
main body, and conclusion. Your first step is to get
the audience's attention and convince them to listen
to you. This happens in the introduction ... and this
is where many beginning speakers lose their audience.
them with something vitally interesting to them.
an interesting story or example that ties into your
focus. Use a strong,
meaningful quotation or a startling statistic.
use simple graphic language, and most of all, never
apologize! If the
airline lost your bag and you're in yesterday's clothes...if
you're a last minute
substitute for the best speaker in the country...if
you have the flu and a 101 degree temperature, don't
your speech with power. Make your audience think
they're going to be informed, entertained or enlightened...don't
let them think they're getting inferior goods, leftovers
or anything except your best.
gotten the audience's attention, you need to deliver
what you promised in the shortest, most interesting
way possible. Hold people's attention during the main
body of your message by creating a lot of mini-cycles
with beginnings, middles, and ends instead of having
one big cycle that lasts through the entire presentation.
should plan a change-of-pace every 10 to 15 minutes
so that you can break up your talk into mini-cycles
and keep attention riveted. You can do this by including
appropriate humor, stories, exercises requiring people
to move their bodies (even if
it's just raising their hands) or calls for a verbal
response. Keep these change-of- pace exercises as
physical as possible if your presentation occurs after
lunch when much of our energy is diverted to our digestive
that the purpose of your presentation is not to present
all you know about a subject -- it's to present what
your audience needs to know in a way that meets your
personal objectives as well as theirs.
have a dynamite opening and a powerful, interesting
message only to drop the ball at the end. You need
a strong wrap up. It serves an important role for
conclusion should repeat your main ideas: don't
expect the audience to remember a point which they
have heard only once. You can signal a wind-up of
the presentation with a phrase such as: "Let's
review the main points we've covered." Your conclusion
should be strong, succinct and persuasive.
and Visualize Success
your audience. You know your material. You've written
a dynamite speech. The last step is to practice delivering